Peter Pan's prequel opens in Baltimore - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Peter Pan’s prequel opens in Baltimore

As a kid I certainly remember the story of Peter Pan.

At that time in my life it was simply a story about a family, Lost Boys, a little speck of a light, pirates, an island and of course Peter.  It wasn’t until my later years I truly understood the real meaning of the J.M. Barrie story he wrote in 1904.

With the responsibilities of adult life, I didn’t want to grew up either.

The story has seen many variations as the years went by.  In 1924 it opened on Broadway.  In 1953 Disney releases an animated version.  In 1954 Mary Martin starred in a production and in 2004 Johnny Depp was in a film called Finding Neverland.

A relatively new production can be seen at the Hippodrome, Peter and the Starcatcher.  This one had its beginning on Broadway in 2012.  It’s  the story of Peter Pan before we first met him, a prequel if you will.

It attempts to explain the origin of Captain Hook, Peter,  the Lost Boys and the rest of what we know from the famous story.  It is done in a most entertaining way with a very talented cast.  During its New York run, the New York Times wrote, that it is ‘the most exhilarating storytelling on Broadway in decades’.  Praise like that has to be  earned from that publication.

How good was it really?

Peter and the Starcatcher  won five Tony Awards. (Publicity Photo)

Peter and the Starcatcher won five Tony Awards. (Publicity Photo)

It won five Tony Awards.  That happened to be the most awards won by any show in New York for the 2011-2012 season.  It is a musical but I don’t think in the usual sense.  There is music, provided by two guys in an elevated platform on each side of the stage.  But the show doesn’t go from song to song.  Actually the most entertaining number of them all is the one that opens the second act.  The men come out dressed as mermaids, at least that’s what I think they were.  The audience loved it.

During the early part of the last century I imagine Peter was the hero of lots of young men.  He lived life as he pleased, mainly because he didn’t have parents and didn’t like adults.  Not always the best policy, but when you live on an island in Never Never Land you can get away with lots more than those who live in the city.    If there is a stand out in this production it would have to be John Sanders, portraying Black Stache.  When you see his Groucho Marx like moustache you’ll know why his name is Stache.  He played the role in New York and he is excellent.  His stage antics are limber and loose and his delivery is superb.

This is definitely a show for the family.  With an 8 p.m. curtain you’re out by about 10:40 p.m.  For the younger members of your family you might consider a weekend.  It would help if you gave them a primer on the Peter Pan story.  Maybe you can rent the 1954 film.  Not by any means a requirement but they would enjoy the movie anyway.  Actually the press notes states it would be most enjoyable for those over 10 years old.  Another benefit of the show, it’s the first time in Baltimore.  So unless you saw it in New York or on the road, this will be the first time for you.

Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m.  and Sundays at 1 p.m. ,and 6:30 p.m.  Ticket prices range from $25 to $85.  They can be purchased at the box office Peter and the Starcatcher runs through May 18.


About the author

Eddie Applefeld

Eddie Applefeld is a Baltimore native and a graduate of Towson University. He has been in the broadcasting profession for over 30 years. Currently he is the Promotions Director of WCBM radio. Before that, he was part of the Rouse & Company show on WQSR, host of a cable TV show called Dining Out and adjunct instructor at Towson. His past accomplishments include being named a finalist in Baltimore Tourism's Employee of the Year Program and winner of Toastmaster's Speaker of the Year contest. He was also twice a heartthrob for the American Heart Association's gala fund raiser. Contact the author.
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